This blog is supposed to be, as much as I can, my daily journey through life as a Christian. I hope it to be my thoughts and feelings on life but be as grounded in the Christian message as it can. My intention is not to create a daily readings or bible study guide but to look at my life in terms of a Christian trying to find and follow God's mission using his Life User's Manuel AKA the Bible.

Matthew 10 19-20

And don't you worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. - Matthew 10 19-20

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christian fasting

When it was first suggested to me to blog on this topic I didn't really know much about fasting as a Christian. I was under the impression that it was a case of not eating for a period of time. On further study however it is so much more than that. Fasting is not Biblically required in any way. Although there are cases in the Bible of Christ and His followers fasting there is no commandment for us to fast. Even so fasting can be useful for Christians in drawing closer to God.

Fasting is not all about giving up food and starving yourself. It is possible to fast by giving up any worldly thing that distracts you from God. Choosing to give up television or the internet for a period of time in order to spend more time praying is as much fasting as not eating for a period of time. The aim is not to punish yourself or suffer because of the fast, but to grow closer to God. It is about showing that we are serious about our relationship with God in that we will give up something of the world for a period of time in order to spend that time with God.

I did look into some of the rules for fasting that are used in various Christian denominations and to be honest I was surprised by what I found. There are many ways of fasting that even though you are "giving up" food you are still able to eat. For example in the Catholic tradition a partial fast allows you to have one meat meal per day and two small meals not containing meat providing the two smaller meals are not greater than the large meal. Other rules include just giving up dairy, not eating meat or only eating during the hours between sun set and sun rise. There are many different methods of fasting and this leads to a huge amount of flexibility. This flexibility come mostly from the fact that fasting is not something we have been told we must do, we have not been given guidelines to follow in this. Therefore we are able to fast in what ever way works best for us in order to commit to God and spend time in fellowship and communion with Him.

So fasting, there are no hard and fast rules. We are all aware of the time of Lent and giving something up as Jesus fasted in the wilderness. This is a kind of fasting, and some people do go to the level of giving up food and fasting for lent with caveats such as only eating plain foods or only one meal before sunrise. Whatever the method of fasting there should only be one reason to do so, in praise and honour of God, as a method of exalting Him and growing close to Him. It should not be done as a show of faith or a way of proving how good a Christian you are. Fasting is a private choice made by someone in their walk with God in order to concentrate more fully on Him.

Acts 14:23   
    Paul and Barnabas handpicked leaders in each church. After praying-their prayers intensified by fasting-they presented these new leaders to the Master to whom they had entrusted their lives. 

1 comment:

  1. You explained this well. And you made me want to fast. Thank you for being "on fire" for the Lord...and for sharing your zeal with us.

    Keep on keeping on! God is at work in you...and through you!

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits